A triangular contest in the Telangana heartland

A triangular contest in the Telangana heartland

Telangana caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao during an election rally at Kollapur in Mahbubnagar on Tuesday. PTI

A former MP who is banking on his previous development works, a sitting legislator flaunting his 10-year performance and a BJP leader looking to make it this time at least.

The electoral contest in Karimnagar Assembly constituency promises to be a political potboiler with all three major parties — TRS, Congress and BJP — fielding heavyweights.

While TRS has renominated G Kamalakar, who won both the 2009 and 2014 elections, the Congress candidate is former MP from the town Ponnam Prabhakar and the BJP nominee is B Sanjay Kumar, who lost to the ruling party’s nominee in the last elections.

Karimnagar, 160 km from capital Hyderabad, was one of the hotbeds for the separate Telangana statehood agitation and the Assembly segment is considered very prestigious.

This is one of the few constituencies in Telangana where the BJP is making the TRS and Congress candidates sweat it out.

The TRS is walking the extra mile to retain the constituency for the third-straight term by showcasing the "good work" done by Kamalakar as losing the seat would be a loss of face for the party as its chief K Chandrashekar Rao represented the Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat in 2004.

Karimnagar and the nearby Warangal had played a major role in the formation of Telangana state.

In the last two elections, the TRS won the seat riding high on the Telangana sentiment. With that emotional quotient absent this time around, the contest will be intense.

Congress' Prabhakar, an OBC leader who is also one of the working presidents of the party, is banking heavily on his "good work" during his term as MP from 2009 to 2014.

Since Prabhakar was one of the MPs who doggedly pushed for a separate state both inside and outside Parliament, the Congress hopes he might have a chance.

The BJP, which has renominated Sanjay Kumar, is hoping to wrest the seat from TRS by pointing to the failures of the KCR-led government.

With Sanjay Kumar losing the last time, there seems to be some sympathy for him in the constituency even as the BJP banks on the rally to be addressed by its Hindutva mascot Yogi Adityanath in this town on the last day of campaigning on December 5.

"Since there is a sizeable chunk of Muslim population in this constituency, the BJP is trying to polarise the Hindu votes. If the BJP gets a significant number of Hindus votes, it feels it can win the seat. While the Muslim votes will be split between TRS and Congress, it is the BC votes that will be the deciding factor and all the three candidates come from the same community," a political observer, who did not wish to be named, said.

The party is also banking on anti-incumbency against Kamalakar and rakes up the unfulfilled promise of a medical college in the district by TRS.